ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Christmas Tree Lane in Alameda was packed Christmas Eve with families checking out all the decorated homes.
Residents say it's the street's busiest night of the holiday season.
For some families, visiting is a holiday tradition.
On Sunday night, there were smiles all around. Thompson Avenue was the place to be on Christmas Eve.
Whether on foot or in a car, it's the time to take a stroll down Christmas Tree Lane.
For decades, people living on this street have gone all out with decorations that could get even the meanest Grinch in the holiday spirit.
"This is our 17th year living here, and we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. But after year one, it is just so hard not to get in the spirit of the holidays when you're so immersed in it," said resident Derick Daily.
Daily went an extra step on Christmas Eve with a train set he only uses for that night.
"You know, I think it adds something to the whole thing. It gets people to stop. They don't just run to next house. They see the train, and it gets people to stop, and people just kind of enjoy it," he said.
His sons poured hot chocolate while collecting donations for the local animal shelter.
"I think last year they raised a little over $500 for the pet shelter and hopefully we will exceed that this year," Daily said.
Each home has a unique style, some choosing a simple but nice look, while others aim to blow you away.
Either way, it's enough to get the whole neighborhood's attention.
"As long as you're just patient and just living in the moment and enjoying it, it's enjoyable. You know, this is not something you rush through. Take your time. Enjoy it. Spend time with your family and friends," said visitor Rosanna Aigbekaen.
Aigbekaen and her husband are set to become parents next month. As they walk around, they can't help but think how special it is to see so many families cherishing moments with each other. Togetherness, they say, is the most important thing this Christmas.
"Whether you're friends or you're immediate family, everyone can be family. So just take care of each other. I am big on taking care of the person next to you. If you're taking care of others and others take care of you, we are all better," said Jeffrey Aigbekaen.
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